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 Siberian Husky service dog

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SiberianServiceDog
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PostSubject: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:25 am

I'm not sure if you only want people who have show dogs or sled dogs here or not, but I thought I would talk about a husky with a different job than that. I have a Siberian Husky that was being trained as my guide/service dog. Her name is Keisha and she is almost two and is really smart. Unfortunately she started having seizures last Feb. and was diagnosed with epilepsy. This meant she will no longer be able to work as my guide/service dog, but I am keeping her as a pet and she can still help with things around the house. I was training her to take over the work of my semi-retired guide dog Sophie (a yellow lab.).

In Sept. I am getting my second Siberian Husky named Duke. He is the same age as Keisha and shows all the potential as a great guide/service dog candidate. My boyfriend (a dog trainer for over 13yrs) is currently working with him in the UK and will fly here (to Canada) with him. He is a really fast learner and I can't wait to start working with him! He is the dog in my avatar picture.

I got a lot of backlash from people who own Siberian Huskies when I started Keisha's training telling me it would never work and quite a few people got pretty mean about it so I haven't been around forums or groups much, but I feel a lot better about it now that I know it is possible and I can prove it to them when they start telling me different.

I guess this post turned into a bit of an introduction. I hope everyone and your Huskies are all doing well!

Kim
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:25 am

Welcome to the forum! It's great to hear that you've overcome the odds and were able to make a husky your service dog. Is it a seeing eye dog or something of the sort? What do you need a service dog for?

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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:27 am

Oh yeah, if you'd like I can create a sub-forum for our blue collar service dogs.

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Posts made by me are not associated or approved by itsahuskything.com. It is widely known that I am a misfit, ingrate, degenerate, brash, trenchant, sardonic, brusque, forthright individual. It should be remembered that all parties operate on the internet and any offense taken from the internet should immediately be followed by a thorough evaluation of one's personal sanity.

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SiberianServiceDog
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:45 am

@...YouKnowWho wrote:
Welcome to the forum! It's great to hear that you've overcome the odds and were able to make a husky your service dog. Is it a seeing eye dog or something of the sort? What do you need a service dog for?
She was being trained to be a combination guide dog and service dog. I've been blind since birth and had a spinal cord injury in 2004 so I need a dog to guide me, help pull my wheelchair and help pick up things, help with laundry, help pull covers when making the bed etc. LOL Keisha will dig through the laundry to bring me all of the socks first, but then she'll bring everything else to me. It's our little compromise! She will still help with things like getting things from cupboards, helping with laundry and other things around the house, but Duke will guide me and help when I'm out. My current guide dog is semi-retired right now and she will really appreciated the help too.
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Huskyluv
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:33 pm

Welcome Kim! Duke is beautiful and I've heard of Siberian husky service dogs before so I know it's possible. Not something that most sibes are cut out for but definitely possible. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:14 pm

Wow that is really amazing. Glad everything worked out with making a Husky your service dog and proving people wrong.
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...YouKnowWho
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:44 pm

Wow. It's awesome that they're able to help you live a more comfortable life!

Ok, this may make me look like an idiot and will probably show everyone how little I know about modern technology... but how are you able to surf the internet and read what's on the computer screen if you're blind? Is there some sort of screen that is all in Braille (sp?)?

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SiberianServiceDog
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:20 pm

@...YouKnowWho wrote:
Wow. It's awesome that they're able to help you live a more comfortable life!

Ok, this may make me look like an idiot and will probably show everyone how little I know about modern technology... but how are you able to surf the internet and read what's on the computer screen if you're blind? Is there some sort of screen that is all in Braille (sp?)?
You can get refreshable braille displays, but I use a screen reading program called JAWS. It reads everything out loud (well most things). If anyone uses a Mac it's similar to VoiceOver, but a Windows version, but it's not as good as VoiceOver and costs extra.
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:50 pm

Wow! That's incredible! But how do you know where the reply button and stuff is? Does it also read out the small details of each post? Things like how many "treats" a member has, their signature, join date, etc?

What about typing? Do you type yourself or is there a voice recognition application? I'm asking because you've got better grammar and spelling than 75% of our members (sorry guys... but it's true Razz ).

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Posts made by me are not associated or approved by itsahuskything.com. It is widely known that I am a misfit, ingrate, degenerate, brash, trenchant, sardonic, brusque, forthright individual. It should be remembered that all parties operate on the internet and any offense taken from the internet should immediately be followed by a thorough evaluation of one's personal sanity.

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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:17 pm

Oh yeah, I'm contemplating moving this to the Doggy Door and having this as your welcome thread. Once I get home from work I'll update the forum and make a section for other working dogs where you can start a thread that you can update us with your progress on the new dog and give us a peek into your life.

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Posts made by me are not associated or approved by itsahuskything.com. It is widely known that I am a misfit, ingrate, degenerate, brash, trenchant, sardonic, brusque, forthright individual. It should be remembered that all parties operate on the internet and any offense taken from the internet should immediately be followed by a thorough evaluation of one's personal sanity.

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Catherine
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:09 pm

Blimey Chad talk about bombarding the poor girl with loads of questions at once Laughing I must admit I am very interested in the anwers though.

How great to have a husky as a service dog its not a breed that usually springs to mind when you mention service dogs most people think of Labradors or some such breed. I would be very interested also to hear about some of your boyfriends training techniques.
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:09 pm

Sorry. I just find it interesting to see how this stuff works. Moving this thread to the Doggy Door.

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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:32 pm

Just started a new sub-forum for "our little helpers". That's the place where you can post about your seeing-eye dogs and service dogs.

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Posts made by me are not associated or approved by itsahuskything.com. It is widely known that I am a misfit, ingrate, degenerate, brash, trenchant, sardonic, brusque, forthright individual. It should be remembered that all parties operate on the internet and any offense taken from the internet should immediately be followed by a thorough evaluation of one's personal sanity.

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SiberianServiceDog
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:08 pm

@...YouKnowWho wrote:
Wow! That's incredible! But how do you know where the reply button and stuff is? Does it also read out the small details of each post? Things like how many "treats" a member has, their signature, join date, etc?

What about typing? Do you type yourself or is there a voice recognition application? I'm asking because you've got better grammar and spelling than 75% of our members (sorry guys... but it's true Razz ).
Sorry about not replying yesterday things got really busy here and I never could seem to get the time to sit here and answer these posts so I gave up until I could.

I can make it real almost anything. There are some issues with Java script but it will read mostly anything else. If you put a tag on a photo or button it will read whatever that tag is. (I think you can usually see them by pausing yoru mouse over them).

I can tab through the different parts of a site until I'm use to where things are. For this site it means tabbing all the way across the top menu, then down the left side menu before getting to the actual "forum" bit. But once I know the layout I can wait until my mouse is over something I am familiar with (it will say what it is over) and I can click and start from there. I hope that explains things a little better. There are also shortcut keys to read a whole section, a line, word, paragraph etc.

I learned to type when I was about 12 so I could take most of my notes in school on a laptop. I basically learned where all the keys were just like anyone else would without looking at them. Then in 2004 I had to re-learn how to type because after my spinal cord injury the only parts of my hands that I can feel are near where my thumbs join onto the rest of my hand and that don't really help with typing lol. So I spent a lot of the free time in hospital/rehab typing to learn where the keys were again. Now I can type pretty fast again by listening to the click of my fingernails when they go across the home keys and I pretty much know the distance to each key from there (although the "F" keys are still a pain to find because I don't use them often. So are the number keys). Basically I just go to the area I know they must be in and press them until I hear the right ones when I use those keys.

To learn to type I changed the settings to speak every letter I pressed so I would know what I was pressing. Then to read every word, not I have it set to not read anything unless I make a spelling mistake. Then I go back and change it. Sometimes if I'm in a hurry I can miss some spelling still though. Especially if it starts to say something else around the same time.

I'd be more than happy to answer any other questions you have. II hope this one wasn't too boring.
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SiberianServiceDog
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:35 pm

@Catherine wrote:
Blimey Chad talk about bombarding the poor girl with loads of questions at once Laughing I must admit I am very interested in the anwers though.

How great to have a husky as a service dog its not a breed that usually springs to mind when you mention service dogs most people think of Labradors or some such breed. I would be very interested also to hear about some of your boyfriends training techniques.
Back when guide dogs were being trained in the beginning all breeds were trained (boxers, dalmations... basically any dog that was the right height) After years of traingin dogs most schools move onto Yellow Labs., Black Labs, Golden Retrievers, Lab./Golden crosses, Labradoodles and poodles (for anyone who has dog allergies), chocolate labs. and German shepherds. (pretty mush in that order).

It's not necessarily that other dog breeds can't be trained to be a guide dog. I think any breed can if you find out what works best for them. It mostly has to do with how "easily" trained Labs and goldens are. They can generally be trained very easily and more of them makes it through the program because of this coupled with the fact that they generally have a great temperament. Guide dog schools are in so much demand the extra time it would take for them to train say a Husky that wants to do things their way compared to a nice gullible lab that will twist themselves into a knot trying to do things exactly how you want them done is just not worth it. Every guide dog is trained the exact same way unless they are going to someone that has other disabilities etc. then more training is added on.

I got my first guide dog from a school and was planning on going back for my other dogs. Then when I was in the hospital the head of the school said I would have to stop working with my dog and go get a new one. But the catch was I would have to use a power wheelchair. They had just started a pilot program that year to train guide dogs for people who have already had a dog who found themselves using a wheelchair for whatever reason. I had just won the whole manual chair vs. power chair debate and I wasn't about to chance my mind then!

The Dr. I had was from India and seemed to think that she was still there judging by the way she made decisions. She told me I would have to get rid of my guide dopg, start using a power chair and go live in a nursing home or at best a group home. Of course if I used a power chair all of the strength I had worked so hard to build up in my arms would just waste away to the point that I would no longer be able to be independent. So I fought tooth and nail along with some of the really great nurses until I had a manual wheelchair and my physiotherapist spend evenings in the hallway with me and Sophie teaching her how to guide me while using a manual chair. (This enraged the Dr. to the point that she tried to have a couple of psychiatrists sign papers saying I was "incompetent to make decisions on my own", but after talking to me they refused to do it and were on my side).

So after that decision I told the head of the guide dog school that I wasn't going to give up Sophie and agreed to a meeting once I was out of the hospital. He met me with papers to sign to retire Sophie and get another dog but after watching us work outside crossing streets etc. he came back to the apt. ripped up the papers and asked if I could teach the instructors how I did it! Of course I can't find a guide dog or service dog school that will trian a dog to be both a guide dog and service dog and let me use a manual chair, so I decided to train my own dog. This is totally "legal" and the new dog will have all of the same rights as a dog trained by a school. The great thing is I got to sit down and figure out exactly what I needed in a dog and choose a breed that fit into my lifestyle/needs best and I can train my dog to help with whatever I want in the way I want. It's great because if I want something done a certain way I plan it all out in my mind about how to teach it etc. Then we start Keisha does it a completely different way but the job still gets done! So I learned to compromise from the beginning. I plan things, she changes them but as long as things are done in the end that's all that matters. We both learned to work together and we both compromise a little although I don't so all the "woowooing" and "arguing" about things that don't go exactly my way lol!
----------------
Oh, I forgot to add that I have started a blog that will talk about the training and things. It's just been started and wont really be updated a wh9ole lot until Duke gets here, but if you would like to read it the link is in my signature.
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:36 am

Wow you are an incredible writer and seem to be a very intelligent person. I enjoyed reading your comments and it really helped me understand things better. I enjoy reading your comments because your grammar is so good lol. Like Chad said, you are a better writer then most people on here including myself. Anyways, glad to of met you and glad your husky worked out as your service dog. I look forward to learning more.
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PostSubject: Re: Siberian Husky service dog   Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:21 pm

Welcome to the group! It is very interesting reading about how you are training a Husky to be a guide/service dog. I will definitly check out your blog. Have a great week. sunny
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